Come said the wind to
the leaves one day,
Come o’er the meadows
and we will play.
Put on your dresses
scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone
and the days grow cold.
- A Children's Song of the 1880's
I cleaned up the garden this morning. This end-of-summer ritual of clipping the spent blooms and removing the remnants of weeds prepares the flower beds for their winter rest. It feels very different from the anticipation of spring gardening. Although the richness of my autumn garden is satisfying in its own way - the berries on the holly are so colorful, the mums and marigolds beautiful bright spots in late afternoons, the leaves shimmering their gold and crimson hues - this is the end of the line for most of the perennials, and I want to help them get ready for the cold of winter.
Much of this work is solitary, which for an introvert is a natural blessing. The rhythm of weeding, raking, and cutting make an excellent setting for prayers of intercession. I pick up broken stems and speak the names of the many who have asked for prayer. I reach beneath the shrubs and hold up the intentions of my spouse and children. I pat down the loosened soil and ask for restoration and wholeness for our community and world.
I remember that I raise my voice along with millions of others who are attending to their own prayers. We are many and we are one in our humanity, speaking our truth and pleading our case as we confront the certainty of winter and death.
I cut back the once-living flowers, which are dying now and will return next year. That is not miraculous, it is in their nature.
And I pray that as we confront our many deaths, we will come to know the miraculous gift of a super-natural life, risen and healed.
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